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Am J Clin Nutr. 1994 Dec;60(6):843-8.

Total and regional body-composition changes in early postmenopausal women: age-related or menopause-related?

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  • 1Center for Clinical and Basic Research, Ballerup Denmark.


Total and regional body composition were measured in 373 early postmenopausal women aged 49-60 y by dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry to evaluate whether the changes in body composition in the early postmenopausal years are related to menopause itself or merely to age. Both fat mass and fat distribution correlated with age (r = 0.12-0.21, P < 0.05-P < 0.001), but not with years since menopause (YSM). Lean tissue mass, on the other hand, decreased with YSM (r = -0.17, P < 0.001) but was not related significantly to age. Total body bone mineral density decreased with both YSM (r = -0.30, P < 0.001) and age (r = -0.21, P < 0.001). Our study suggests that postmenopausal changes in body fat and fat distribution are more dependent on age than on menopause, but we cannot exclude a separate effect of the menopause. Changes in fat-free mass, including a postmenopausal decline in both soft lean tissue mass and bone mass, are, however, mainly menopause-related

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